I’ve always wanted to do a Bible review and today that becomes a reality. As my first review, I’ve chosen the Cambridge Pitt Minion NASB (Brown Goatskin). While most book reviews are normally literary, this is not that type of review. Reviewing Bibles seems to take on a different form within evangelical circles. The Bible reviews on this blog will focus on things like functionality, build, clarity, print quality, binding, durability, etc.
The publisher, Cambridge University Press, is a well established Bible publisher. They have been publishing high quality Bibles for 400 years and this Bible is evidence of why they’ve lasted for so long.
Translation(s): I have chosen to review the NASB because that is the translation I personally use, but the Pitt Minion is also available in ESV, NIV, NLT, and KJV.
Binding and Build: This Bible is bound in brown goatskin. If you ask me, I’ve felt softer goatskins (namely, the RL Allan Bibles). The goatskin is rather sturdy out the box, but the break-in process has been given adequate attention by Mark Bertrand here. Since mine is still new, I’m interested to see how nicely this Bible does settle.
The Bible is “smyth-sewn.” This means that the pages are not glued together (which is why many lower quality Bibles fall apart). Instead, the pages are sewn together providing the highest quality. This feature is what makes higher quality Bibles/books lay flat; making it easier to read and write in.
One coveted feature in Bible production is the “Genesis 1 test.” This tests the pliability and “limp” nature of the Bible. A Bible passes the “Genesis 1 test” when it is opened to Genesis 1 and stays open and lays flat on the table. While my Bible stays open at Genesis 1 it does not lay flat. I guess we’d have to give it a B- on this test?
The Bible also features two (2) ribbons to go with it. For a smaller Bible, the extra ribbon is a unique feature. I’ve surprisingly found the second ribbon to be very helpful. I have also heard that they do not fray easily and last just as long as the Bible.
Paper and Print: The paper on this Bible is thin, but handles highlighting and writing well. It doesn’t bleed over into the next (or previous) page when highlighting with a Bible highlighter. The ends of the pages have red under gold gild. I used to be indifferent to little details like this, but I must say that this gold/red color scheme has grown on me as something to appreciate.
Font: The print is very clear and legible. Since the Pitt Minion is not necessarily a “full-sized” Bible it does have a rather small font (7 pt). I personally do not find it ideal for settings of teaching, preaching, or in-depth personal study. It is also a red-letter text Bible, which for some is a big deal (but not so much for me).
Format: The Bible is in a double column paragraph format. This is different from verse format where each verse occupies a new line. Paragraph format is great for reading, but difficult for teaching contexts since it is hard to easily find verses tucked inside the paragraphs.
The Pitt Minion also features center column cross-references. I enjoy reading my Bible with cross-references so easily available. I feel like it helps me receive a wider grasp of the Bible, especially as it may relate to the passage I am reading.
Functionality and Use: I primarily use this as my travel and “on the go” Bible. I take it with me when I go on vacation, do visitations, or attend a church or Bible study where I am not teaching or preaching. As stated above, I would not use this Bible for contexts where I’ll be doing in-depth study or long periods of reading. The primary reason is the font size. I have relatively weak eyes and would be straining really hard to make good use out of it. It is small enough to carry around since it is not awkwardly shaped. It is thin and small enough to fit in some of my coat pockets.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The people who will value and get the most use out of this Bible are people who have good eyes and value portability. It is a rather expensive investment at around $100; but it will last you a long, long time. If you are in ministry, it is a great Bible to take on visitations and counseling sessions.